TEXT: Ephesians 4:11-12
TOPIC: What If the Church Played the Super Bowl?
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama
February 1, 2009
(Much of the following message is gleaned from John Maxwell's TEAM Ministry and his seminar notes on God's Master Game Plan.)
*/11/*/ And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, *12* for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,/
Eph 4:11-12 (NKJV)
Let’s have a little fun with the sermon today.
It’s Super Bowl Sunday; we might as well join in the spirit of the game, even though I don’t have any particular feelings for who might win tonight’s game.
Maybe you do.
How many of you are pulling for the Pittsburg Steelers?
Who would like to see the Arizona Cardinals win? How many of you are like me, you just don’t care?
But what if the church played in the Super Bowl?
What if today’s church, the typical church, even our church here at FBCP, what if we played in the Super Bowl? You’d certainly have cause to tune in and cheer for the church wouldn’t you? Sure you would!
What I really want to do is to walk us through five scenes of what the Super Bowl might look like, if the church were to play the Super Bowl.
Along the way, what I hope you learn about the church is this: *"The average church does not need more members, it needs more ministers!*
*SCENE #1: THE COACH PLAYS ALONE*
Imagine the scene as the teams are introduced to the crowds shortly after 5:00 p.m. this afternoon at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
You know the scene.
The players run onto the field.
Bands are playing.
A squadron of Air Force Jets flies overhead.
The players go crazy.
Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner, the team quarterbacks are shouting and pumping up their teams.
But the Super Bowl I’m talking about this morning is very different.
The coin is tossed, the National Anthem is played and the opposing team runs onto the field.
(We’ll call them the Devil’s Demons.)
Then the cameras zoom in on the church still on the sideline, saying the Lord's Prayer.
But when the prayer is over, instead of the church taking the field of play, they stay on the sideline and the coach runs onto the field.
And if the church is large enough to have some assistant coaches they run out on the field as well.
Anyway, the coach lines up to receive the kick-off.
Now we know what's going to happen.
The ball is kicked and the coach makes the catch and takes a few steps forward and, "BOOM."
Eleven of the Devil’s most talented special teams’ players converge at once on the poor coach.
He dies and goes to Jesus.
Now who's the church's coach?
The pastor is the church's coach.
In some churches, like ours, we're fortunate to have a staff of ministers.
But do you really think the coach alone or the staff alone stand a chance against the Devil's Demons?
About as much chance as the Cardinals have of beating the Steelers today.
I can see it now.
They kick off.
I set John and Danny up front to throw a few blocks.
But all they hit is the ground.
I catch the ball.
Take a few steps forward and realize I'm about to make my wife a young widow, so what do I do?
I lateral the ball to David Huffstutler across the field and yell, “Run, David H., run."
That's why we brought you here.
Reach those youth.
Grow our Sunday School.
I'm praying for you!"
That's not the way to play a football game, especially not the Super Bowl.
But sadly, that often illustrates the way too many churches try to do the work of ministry in the church.
Remember our text, Ephesians 4:11-12, /He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, *12* for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,/
Let me give you another Example of Lay Ministry the way the church ought to play the game.
The pastors were unable to meet all the needs, Acts 6:1
The average size church in America has 112 members with an average attendance of 70.
Do you know why? That's all one man can effectively serve.
After that, the church stops growing.
The pastor and staff can't do it alone.
The church meets to discuss the problem, Acts 6:2a
The many needs force the pastors to list priorities, Acts 6:2b, and 4
They decide to share the ministry with the laity, Acts 6:3a.
The people were to be qualified.
1) members of the church /"from among you"/
2) good reputation
3) spirit-filled believers
4) full of wisdom
5) full of faith
6) responsible and reliable "put in charge of a task"
How do you measure up?
The leaders approve and pray over them, Acts 6:6.
The church grew because the laity started to minister, Acts 6:7.
*SCENE #2: THE TEAM STAYS IN THE HUDDLE*
After the coach is carried off on three of four stretchers, the team or the church finally realizes they had better get in the game.
So they run on the field and get in the huddle, and they huddle and they huddle and they huddle.
The referee throws a flag.
The church is penalized for delay of game.
Five yards is marked off against the church.
So they get back in the huddle, and they huddle and they huddle and they huddle.
The ref blows his whistle, and throws his flag, five more yards.
The crowd starts to boo.
What's going on?
Why's the church staying in the huddle?
Let's look inside the huddle to see what's going on.
We hear one of the church's players say, "Boy, don't we have a pretty huddle."
Another one says, "I love it here in the huddle."
Still another says, "I love the closeness and the fellowship we enjoy with one another in the huddle."
So the church joins hands and begins to sing choruses in the huddle.
“We shall not be moved.”
We like it in the huddle.
It's safe in the huddle.
You can't get hurt in the huddle.